Local briefs – June 2

The Vancouver Winter Olympics are having an impact on trials in Red Deer.

Vancouver Olympics will delay trials held in Red Deer

The Vancouver Winter Olympics are having an impact on trials in Red Deer.

A date to set a first-degree murder trial, which will require 20 days, had to be adjourned Monday for the lawyers and court to figure out when several officers are available to testify.

Blair Andrew Neill, 41, of Red Deer pleaded not guilty and elected to be tried by a Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench judge and jury when he appeared in court.

However, a date couldn’t be set because some officers, among 20 who are potential witnesses, may be helping provide security at the Olympics in January and February, Chief Crown prosecutor Anders Quist told court.

Some Red Deer and Central Alberta officers are among those who could be seconded to the Olympics.

Neill, who is free from custody on bail, is charged with stabbing Nathan Casey, 27, to death on Aug. 26, 2008, in downtown Red Deer.

Police and emergency personnel were called to an altercation in the 4700 block on 54th Street and found the accused suffering from a stab wound.

They later discovered Casey with a stab wound in a vehicle parked near 55th Street and 47th Avenue.

He later died from his injury.

Neill was ordered to return to court July 17 so Quist and defence lawyer Lorne Goddard can select dates and hopefully narrow some issues.

He was in custody for several months before he was released recently on bail.


Drunk driving trial delayed to receive expert’s report

The trial of a Red Deer man charged with drunk driving that killed a man more than two years ago has been delayed.

The Court of Queen’s Bench trial of Peter Tytsma, 36, set for June 22 had to be adjourned on Monday because an expert’s report isn’t expected by the scheduled date.

The report was requested by defence lawyer Will Willms who said later he needs time to examine it when it arrives.

The case was adjourned to July 17 to set a new date.

Tytsma is charged with impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and operating a motor vehicle when his blood alcohol exceeded the legal limit.

Paul Seguin, 35, was in a small pickup heading west on 39th Street at Exeter Crescent on April 18, 2007, when his vehicle collided with an eastbound half-ton pickup truck.

Seguin died of head injuries a few days later, on April 24.

Trial into hotel robbery set for October

A 17-year-old male youth charged in connection with a motel robbery in Innisfail is going to trial on Oct. 11.

On May 18 at about noon, Innisfail RCMP responded to a complaint of an armed robbery.

Police made an arrest shortly after the call.

The type of weapon was not released, but police say it was neither a firearm nor a knife.

No one was injured and nothing was taken from the motel.

The youth was charged with robbery, disguised with intent, and breach of probation.

Man in custody since last summer until court date can be set

A Saskatoon man charged with attempting to kill three Central Alberta RCMP officers last summer will remain in custody until a trial date can be set.

Kenneth Thomas Janzen, 25, had his case adjourned to July 17 on Monday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Janzen is charged with three counts of attempted murder, and single counts of criminal flight from police causing bodily harm, failure to stop at the scene of an accident, hit and run, obstructing police, dangerous operation of a vehicle and criminal negligence.

Janzen, 25, was charged on July 30, 2008, after a vehicle struck and seriously injured an Innisfail RCMP officer who was on foot after deploying a spike belt near Antler Hill just north of Innisfail on Hwy 2.

Police said earlier a vehicle had stopped on Hwy 2 near Red Deer. Janzen is alleged to have exited the vehicle and run in and out of traffic, attempting to stop vehicles to help him pick up garbage.

An RCMP cruiser pulled up and when the officer attempted to talk to Janzen, Janzen allegedly jumped into his vehicle and took off.

He is alleged to have swerved to avoid a spike belt and slammed into Const. Danny Knight, who suffered a severely broken leg and a head cut.

The chase ended near Olds when another spike belt disabled the vehicle and it rolled several times.

Authorities allege two other officers involved in the pursuit were also intended victims.

Janzen has been in custody since the incident.

Defence lawyer Lorne Goddard said earlier he has yet to determine if an application will be made to have his client declared not criminally responsible by reason of a medical disorder.

Sentencing in November in shooting of Hobbema girl

Two days have been set aside for the sentencing of a young Hobbema man who pleaded guilty to several charges about a month ago including the wounding of a toddler on the reserve last spring.

Christopher Shane Crane, 19, will be sentenced Nov. 2-3 in Wetaskiwin Court of Queen’s Bench for the drive-by shooting of 23-month-old Asia Saddleback.

The sentencing date was only set a few days ago. Crane remains in custody.

Crane pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in that incident and armed robbery and assault with a weapon in another incident.

The April 13, 2008, wounding the toddler angered the Hobbema First Nations bands so much they set up several actions to help fight organized gangs fighting control of the drug trade in the area.

The little girl was shot in the chest and the bullet remains lodged just centimetres from her heart. She was in her grandfather’s home on the Samson reserve while the family sat down to supper.

Busiest week for police calls in May

RCMP worked through their busiest week of the year last week recording 918 calls for service, according to statistics for the week ending May 31.

The calls represent more than a 20 per cent jump from the previous week when 756 calls were received.

Bylaw complaints totalled the most with 205 calls while crimes against the person including thefts, assaults, robberies and domestic violence totalled 148, including 73 thefts, 36 domestic violence calls and 37 assaults.

Other statistics included:

• 17 auto thefts

• 14 residential and business break-ins

• 25 drug investigations

• nine frauds

• 54 mischief

• two robberies

• 33 suspicious persons, vehicles or activities

• 94 victim services assistance

Impaired driving, hit-and-run calls double over previous week

Impaired driving and hit-and-run crash investigations both doubled from the previous week in the week ending May 30, city RCMP statistics released Monday indicate.

Police responded to 25 impaired driving calls compared with 13 the previous week and 23 hit-and-run crashes compared with 11 the previous week.

Seat belt statistics indicate 74 tickets were written last week compared with 12 the previous week.

Speeding tickets declined 30 to 122 last week compared with the previous week.

Other traffic statistics included:

• one 24-hour suspension

• 10 liquor tickets

• 100 non-moving violations including suspended driving, unregistered vehicles

• 27 no insurance tickets

• 17 red light, stop sign tickets

• 96 bylaw and Environmental Protection Act tickets issued

For more on local events, see “Home Front” and “Switchboard” under the “Community” tab